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Behold London’s ‘landscraper’! Google’s new UK HQ – as long as the Shard is tall

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theguardian.com

A lunchtime basketball game, a walk around the rooftop exercise trail or 40 winks in a “nap pod”: just some of the workplace perks that are a step closer for Google’s London employees in what will be their new home.The US tech giant celebrated the “topping out” ceremony of its new UK headquarters as the final beam was hoisted into place on Friday, marking the end of major construction of its horizontal skyscraper, nicknamed the “landscraper”.Wedged between – and towering over – the capital’s King’s Cross and St Pancras railway stations, the main structural works of Google’s new office building are complete.

The facade is also taking shape as the metal frame is being filled in with giant panes of glass and panels of wood.Dominating the King’s Cross area just south of the Regent’s Canal, the landscraper is 72 metres tall at its highest point and stretches to 330m, making it longer than the 310m-high Shard skyscraper, which was Europe’s tallest building when it opened a decade ago.Ground was first broken on the landscraper project in 2017 and Google now calls the building a show of confidence in the return to office working after the pandemic, although others have described the £1bn project as the embodiment of the pre-Covid world of work.“To see what we have achieved over the past five years, despite challenging circumstances along the way, has been really quite extraordinary,” said Ronan Harris, managing director for Google UK and Ireland.As those attending the ceremony sipped non-alcoholic Pimm’s and nibbled on canapés, the building’s final steel beam was signed by Harris and others including the London mayor, Sadiq Khan, and local MP Keir Starmer.

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